Life Extension Update
Friday, August 3, 2012. The April, 2012 issue of Clinical Nutrition published the finding of researchers from Taiwan's National Health Research Institutes and Monash University in Australia of an association between higher intake of vitamins B1 and B6, as well as higher plasma levels of pyridoxal-phosphate (an indicator of vitamin B6 status), with a lower risk of dying among older men and women during up to ten years of follow-up.
"The status of the eight B-group vitamins is perceived as an important public health issue for the elderly," write Mark L. Wahlqvist of the Monash Asia Institute and his associates in their introduction. "Although B vitamin deficiencies are observed, among elderly people little is known about the contribution their status makes to mortality."
The study included 1,747 subjects aged 65 and older who participated in the Taiwanese Elderly Nutrition and Health Survey from 1999 to 2000. Dietary questionnaires provided information on B vitamin intake and blood samples collected during physical examinations were analyzed for plasma folate, pyridoxal-phosphate and other B vitamins. The participants were followed through 2008, during which 627 men and women died.
Subjects whose intake of vitamin B1 or vitamin B6 was among the top one-third of participants had a 26 percent lower adjusted risk of dying over follow-up compared to those whose intake was among the lowest third. Having an adequate pyridoxal-phosphate level of 30 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) or more resulted in a 48 percent lower risk of dying than that experienced by those with deficient levels of less than 20 nmol/L.
In their discussion of the findings, the authors remark that vitamin B1 has particular relevance to muscle, blood, cardiovascular and neurologic functions, and that the intake level of the top one-third of participants in the study is higher than the recommended amount of the vitamin in Taiwan. While higher vitamin B6 intake and plasma concentrations may reduce elevated homocysteine levels, thereby lowering the risk of premature death due to conditions associated with hyperhomocysteinemia, no associations between plasma or serum levels of other B vitamins involved in homocysteine metabolism and the risk of death over follow-up were observed in the current study.
"Higher vitamin B1 and B6 intakes and plasma pyridoxal-phosphate were associated with lower risk of mortality up to 10 years and could be achieved by increased dietary diversity," the authors conclude.
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